Friday, November 30, 2007

Don't Cross the Online World 

Facebook is learning one doesn't upset the online world and get away with it easily. There is no confirmation yet the company is going to alter advertising plans, but the pressure isn't going away. The challenge for the company is serious -- how to monetize information in its system without upsetting members. There is apparently no easy answer. Advertisers want exposure for their goods and services. Members may not in the way Facebook plans to do it with Beacon. That doesn't make Beacon a bad idea, but it may require a great deal more communication with members to get them to understand it. It's a fundamental PR challenge, and there will be more like it. The online world is not afraid to speak loudly about likes and dislikes. However, beta testing can stir activists who are not representative of a larger population. Advanced communication for a new idea often cannot convey the experience. Just doing it may be too sudden for consumers. Still, it seems to me that Facebook would have been better to have eased into its proposal, since it deals with issues of privacy.


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